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Al Arabiya: The head of a Tunisian Islamist organization called this week for his country to legalize polygamy as part of a post-revolution initiative to cancel all laws that contradict Islamic principles.
David Cortman at the Alliance Defending Freedom Blog: How about we reeducate the educators and get rid of these zero tolerance policies. Let’s go back to a time where we were taught to actually use our brains, to think, to get the facts and make an informed, intelligent decision. A time when a student was not “establishing a religion” when he included a cross on his artwork or chose a religious song for the talent show; was not mimicking a gun when signing his name; or was not carrying a concealed “weapon” when his mom packed a butter knife to spread his peanut butter and jelly. A time when we learned how to think, and not what to think. Will we ever get back there again?
Baptist Press: Missouri Baptist leaders and pastors have signed a document affirming their personal support for embattled Republican Senate candidate Todd Akin, saying they accept his apology and appreciate his “long-standing commitment” to social conservative causes.
Miami Herald (video embedded): In a new survey of almost 500 people who have ever sought professional counseling to lessen unwanted homosexual attractions, more than half (55%) said the counseling was effective in causing the frequency and intensity of their homosexual attractions to diminish. And seven out of 10 said they were either satisfied (25%) or very satisfied (46%) with their counseling experience.
AP: Brazil’s social security agency has for the first time granted a four-month “maternity” leave for a man in a civil union with another man.
Turtle Bay and Beyond: On 28 August 2012, the second section of the European Court of Human Rights issued its first judgment concerning access to pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD). This technique of screening and selection of embryos conceived in vitro aims at giving birth to a child who is not suffering from a genetic disease. It stems from this judgment that access to PGD may de facto be considered a human right in Europe, a right indirectly guaranteed by the European Convention on Human Rights. This judgment is not final; the Italian Government already announced that it will request the referral of the case before the Grand Chamber for reconsideration.
Christian Concern: The report, published in the Journal Human Reproduction, claimed that the overall risk was still low, even though the data showed that women were three times more likely to have a very premature baby (born before 28 weeks) if they had previously had 3 or more abortions.
Christian Institute: Sex education has failed to tackle teenage pregnancy rates over the last 40 years, an academic analysis of the data concludes. Professor David Paton looked at the statistics and says the under-16 pregnancy rate has not fallen significantly in four decades.
Washington Post: “There is no difference in what we can learn genetically about a person that lived 50,000 years ago and from a person today,” Paabo said Wednesday in a conference call with reporters.
Catholic Culture: Five Protestant churches in Mombasa, Kenya’s second-largest city, were attacked following the August 27 killing of a Muslim cleric, according to Sabahi, a web site sponsored by the Africa Command of the US Armed Forces.
Reuters: Abortions are just as safe when performed by trained nurse practitioners, midwives and physician assistants as when doctors do them, a new review of the evidence suggests.
Renner R, Brahmi D, Kapp N. Who can provide effective and safe termination of pregnancy care? A systematic review. BJOG 2012; DOI: 10.1111/j.1471-0528.2012.03464.x.
SMH.com.au: THE abortion pill RU486 will be widely available to Australian women after the Therapeutic Goods Administration approved an application to import the drug by the reproductive health group Marie Stopes International.
Detroit Free Press: A lawyer for a lesbian couple from Oakland County urged a federal judge today to allow them to jointly adopt three children despite a Michigan law that prevents unmarried couples from doing so.
allAfrica.com: The National Council of Churches of Kenya (NCCK) will sue the government over this week’s riots in Mombasa, which left four churches destroyed. NCCK General Secretary Peter Karanja told journalists on Wednesday that the council would also seek the International Criminal Court’s (ICC) intervention on the matter, claiming that the violence was politically instigated.
Blog of the Legal Times: The former senator told the dozens of lawyers gathered that they have “a lot of work to do to make sure this election is not stolen,” saying that President Obama will “stop at nothing” to get the votes he needs to win. Bond said he “has a feeling” that the DOJ won’t crack down on election irregularities.
TimesFreePress: Walker County, Ga., school officials said Ridgeland High School isn’t violating athletes’ First Amendment rights and the football team will continue to have student-led prayers and church-held meals before games.
C-FAM: Top Asian demographers, population experts, and UN staff gathered in Bangkok this week to address the region’s aging crisis. Despite the severity of the low fertility predicament, abortion, contraception, and “reproductive and sexual health” were the subject of one out of every four papers presented.
Sacramento Bee: An estimated 200 heavily armed Islamists destroyed 30 graves at a historic Turkish school in Tripoli’s old city early Wednesday and an unspecified number of other mosques also were attacked, further signs that Libya’s government is facing a major challenge from extremists less than a month after the first elections in this country in 50 years.
R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr. at Washington Times:The problem with Islam, as I see it, is that it has never reformed itself to accord with the modern world. Of all the major religions, it looks not to the future but to the past. Its impulse comes not from reformers looking to a future living in comity with Westerners. Its impulse comes from fundamentalists looking backward to centuries long gone, and the fundamentalists want to impose their vision of the world on all civilizations. If there are modernizers in Islam, they do not speak up. They do not even protect their ancient mosques.
Reuters: Russia’s most senior Islamic cleric warned on Wednesday that civil war could break out in the southern region of Dagestan after a moderate Muslim cleric was killed in a suicide bombing that has heightened religious tensions.
Chloe Breyer at the NY Times: A central charge against the three members of the Pussy Riot punk-rock band who were recently sentenced to two years in prison was “inciting religious hatred.” This they are said to have done by briefly dancing at the front of Moscow’s Cathedral of Christ the Savior and splicing footage of their dance into a video critical of President Vladimir Putin.
Bridgett Amiri writes at the ACLU Blog: Religion Doesn’t Justify Discrimination: ACLU Files Brief in Third Contraception Rule Challenge “Another private company – this one sells lawn and snow removal equipment in Michigan – is challenging the federal rule that …
ACLU: A U.S. District Court today blocked Texas’ new voter ID law because it discriminates against minorities and conflicts with the federal Voting Rights Act . . . For a copy of the decision, go to: www.aclu.org/voting-rights/texas-voter-id-decision
Christian Post: “All students deserve to be protected from bullying, not just ones favored by certain political activist groups. And all schools need help to ensure that their policies comport with their students’ First Amendment freedoms and other legal protections. This tool is designed to provide that help,” said Alliance Defending Freedom Legal Counsel Jeremy Tedesco. “Unfortunately, activist groups that promote homosexual behavior often dupe schools into adopting policies that protect students based on their ‘sexual orientation’ or ‘gender identity,’ which can unconstitutionally silence students who want to express their biblically-based views on sexuality,” Tedesco explained. “This new Anti-Bullying Policy Yardstick helps schools identify which policies are driven by a narrow political agenda and which ones protect First Amendment freedoms.”
Reuters: Some two dozen topless women protested in a New York City park on a hot, sweaty Sunday as part of what they called “National Go-Topless Day” to draw attention to inequality in topless rights between men and women.
Reuters: Western envoys are urging Arab states not to berate Israel over its assumed nuclear arsenal at the U.N. atomic agency’s annual conference, fearing this could imperil wider efforts for a nuclear weapons-free Middle East, diplomats say.
Richard A. Posner at the New Republic: Judges like to say that all they do when they interpret a constitutional or statutory provision is apply, to the facts of the particular case, law that has been given to them. They do not make law: that is the job of legislators, and for the authors and ratifiers of constitutions. They are not Apollo; they are his oracle. They are passive interpreters. Their role is semantic.
Religion Clause Blog: CNA reports that the the 2012 Republican Platform (full text), adopted Tuesday by the national convention, contains strong planks on religious freedom. Among its provisions are ones calling for defending traditional marriage against an activist judiciary and calling for a constitutional amendment defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman . . .
Religion Clause Blog: According to Tuesday’s Santa Fe New Mexican, the New Mexico Department of Health has changed the form that parents must file to make clear that philosophical, rather than religious, beliefs are not a basis for exemption.
Heritage Foundation Culture Watch: The states’ brief in Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group v. Gill is highly critical of a First Circuit Court of Appeals panel’s decision to invalidate the section of DOMA dealing with the federal marriage definition. That decision disregards binding Supreme Court precedent that would have foreclosed the challenge. It also invents a novel standard of judicial review to justify striking down an act of Congress in favor of the court’s own policy preferences.
Religion Clause Blog: Paul Ryan last night accepted the Republican nomination for vice-president. (Washington Post.) Earlier this month, the Wall Street Journal reported on the impact of Ryan’s Catholic religious faith on his political and policy views . . .
Religion Clause Blog: In United States v. Rutherford County, Tennessee, (MD TN, Aug. 29, 2012), a Tennessee federal district court permitted neighbors of the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro to intervene in a RLUIPA lawsuit brought by the Justice Department.
AP: A judge hearing the case of a Pakistani Christian girl accused of blasphemy delayed her bail hearing on Thursday after a lawyer questioned a medical report putting the girl’s age at 14, suggesting the government had tried to influence it.
AP: One way to think about this year’s election is as a contest between the impact of a sour economy (advantage Romney) and the power of the nation’s shifting demographics (advantage Obama).
The Hill: Priebus has been the most welcoming chairman for all groups, including gays and lesbians,” said Kabel. “For the first time, Log Cabin was given official connections at platform, was given hotel rooms, they didn’t have to scramble around to find another hotel, they were given an allotment of RNC hotel rooms and also passes. That’s the first time that’s happened.” And party leaders have tried to distance themselves from the work of the convention’s platform committee, which is dominated by conservatives.
Michael Fragoso at Public Discourse: Criticism that Republican justices have only hurt the pro-life cause is misguided, because Republican presidents from Reagan onward have deliberately tried to advance judicial conservatism through federal court appointees–a commitment that has brought victories both for judicial conservatism and the pro-life cause. The second of a two part series.
David B. Rivkin, Jr. at the Wall Street Journal: In “Reading Law,” Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia and legal writer Bryan A. Garner argue for paying close attention to the original meaning of the words in the Constitution and other legal documents.